Bayern Munich have beaten Arsenal 3-1 in the first leg of the Champions League Round of 16. The big win in London puts the current Bundesliga leaders in a strong position to make their fourth quarterfinal in five years.
Bayern ran out 3-1 winners against English side Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium Tuesday evening. It was a commanding performance from the Bavarians, who extended their impressive run of form in 2013 into European competition.
It did not take long for the visitors to go ahead. After a few early half-chances from Arsenal, Toni Kroos capitalized on a Gunners' turnover to put Bayern 1-0 up. After picking up the ball near the halfway line, Bastian Schweinsteiger passed to Thomas Müller on the right wing. Müller sent in a bouncing cross that Kroos one-timed powerfully with his right foot into the back of the net.
In the 21st minute, Müller doubled the Bayern lead from a corner. Daniel van Buyten's initial headed effort was blocked by Arsenal goalkeeper Woljiech Szczesny, but the ball fell right to Müller, who nodded home from less than a yard out.
Bayern continued to control the game for the rest of the half, preventing Arsenal from getting a single shot on target. The visitors nearly doubled their lead just before the break when captain Philipp Lahm crossed the ball to a wide open Mario Mandzukic in the center of the box in the 45th minute, but the Croatian headed just wide and the first half finished 2-0.
Arsenal fight back, but Bayern prevail
Shortly into the second period of play, Arsenal pulled one back through former Bayern man Lukas Podolski. A corner found the Germany international wide open in the middle of the box, and he finished easily to make it 2-1 in the 55th minute.
Arsenal continued to run at Bayern after the goal and nearly looked like they had the equalizer when Theo Walcott sent a low cross to Olivier Giroud in the 72nd minute. But the French striker volleyed directly at Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, and it stayed 2-1.
Just five minutes later, Mandzukic dashed Arsenal fans' hopes of a comeback when he scored Bayern's third goal. Starting at the top of the box, Mandzukic laid the ball off to Arjen Robben, who dropped a pass to Lahm on the right side of the area. The Bayern captain crossed it straight to Mandzukic, and his slight touch was enough to flick the ball up, over Szczesny and into the net.
It was a historic win for high-flying Bayern, who until Tuesday had never won in London in five previous attempts. The club have gone 18 matches without a loss in all competitions, have won six out of six in 2013, and sit 15 points clear atop the Bundesliga table.
Arsenal, meanwhile, must dig themselves out of an enormous hole if they want to progress beyond the Round of 16 - something they've failed to do the past two seasons. It's been a poor run of form for the Gunners, who lost to Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup on Saturday, the first time Manager Arsene Wenger has gone out to a lower league opponent in his 17 years at the club.
The return leg will be take place March 13 in Munich. The Bavarians will be without midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, whose yellow card Tuesday means he must sit out a match.
Porto grab home win
Porto earned an important 1-0 win at home to Spanish side Malaga in Tuesday's second round of 16 match.
After battling to a scoreless first half, Joao Moutinho scored the lone goal of the match in the 56th minute. Alex Sandro delivered a cross from the left wing, and the Portugal midfielder put a foot out to redirect the ball past Malaga goalkeeper Willy Caballero and into the net.
It was a strong performance from the reigning Portuguese champions at Estadio do Dragao, who controlled the majority of possession and prevented Malaga from putting a single shot on target during the match.
The Champions League resumes Wednesday, when Schalke travel to Istanbul to take on Galatasaray, and AC Milan host Barcelona.